Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Monday, April 17, 2017

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: April 17, 2017                     
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

“Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."  – John 20:27

Have you ever taken time to locate yourself in the Resurrection Story? This Easter season I did exactly that. I started off by inserting myself into the crowd which Historians have reported were present before, during and after the death of Jesus Christ. Tragically many are not convinced that these events ever happened because they have never taken the time to explore for themselves whether it is possible that they actually did happen.

The purpose of this article is not to convince you of anything, but rather it is to ask you to merely consider where you might have been standing; or where you are standing today as it relates to the Easter story. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord…Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross? Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? Were you there when the stone was rolled away?” [Lyrics to Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.]

Were you there? I certainly was! I was present in Judas, a friend who was looking after number one. A friend who made a few poor choices from a promise that there was something to gain. Now before you say “you betrayed a friend?” Yes, I have betrayed friends and I imagine you have too. While I have never sold someone out for money, I have betrayed their confidence. I also let others down in their expectations of me. I have looked past their needs to make sure mine were the priority. I’ve gossiped about a friend and I have failed to keep my promises. Need I go on? Yes, I have been a betrayer. [Matthew 26:47-56]

I was there present in Peter, someone who would deny Jesus out of fear. Fear of what others might think. Afraid of what it would cost me to be a true friend of Jesus. Would those who know me reject me if my belief in Jesus was actually a part of my daily living? Could I withstand the ridicule, persecution, mocking, and loneliness of being a follower of Christ? Or could I just slip undercover and continue on quietly in my religion? [Matthew 27:69-74]

I was there present in Pontius Pilate. How many times I have backed down in my lobbying for Jesus [standing up for truth] because the crowds don’t really want to hear it. You know it looks something like this. You start a conversation about Jesus and you get “let’s not talk about religion” so you don’t. [Matthew 27:11-26].

I was there at one time present in one of the thieves hanging next to Jesus. In my pride and rebellion against religion; I refused to believe that I may have had Jesus, the Bible and Heaven all wrong. When faced with hell, my attitude was “heck if my friends are all going there, I’ll be in great company. Who wants to float on clouds all day long and listen to the harp?” Yes, it sounded way too boring for this gal. Who knows maybe I am alone in this ridiculous way of thinking. [Luke 23:39-43]

Now to make it personal. How I praise God that I can now see myself standing in a much better place in the Resurrection Story. Like the Centurion who finally got it because he could no longer deny what he had seen, I get it!  Although I don’t believe I would have yelled “crucify Him,” I do believe I may have been in the back of that crowd crying silently about the injustice I was witnessing. I may have even left the crowd so I would not have had to look at the reality of what was happening before me.

He is risen indeed, now what? The following is a excerpt of my personal Easter journal this year. I pray "My Story" can encourage someone in the journey ahead.

4-16-17: “Today I recognize myself in the resurrection story of Jesus. I once was very much dead in sin, lost and floundering through life. After many years of doing it my way, I had lost my joy and I was dead in the hope that I could ever rise above the lies that I came to believe about myself and my circumstances. I had come to feel like a failure as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. Satan convinced me that life would be better lived without me in it and he almost succeeded in his plan to destroy me [John 10:10a]. But one morning in 2001 Jesus intervened from the cross into my story [John 10:10b]. He called me out of my tomb and began to resurrect my hope through a surrender of my will to His. The best day of my life because I now value the best days of my life as gifts. 

Being called from the tomb was just the beginning of the process of transformation that is ongoing in my life today. It all began with a simple question in the deepest part of my heart “Do you believe?” How I answered that question was the determining factor of  how I desire to live out the rest of my days. I praise my Heavenly Father and Savior for the call from the tomb that day. Although I was ready to take my hands off the wheel, Jesus had His nail scared hands firmly placed around mine. I am grateful every day that by His love and through His Spirit I have what I need to live out my remaining days of this life [John 14:15-19] in confidence. I believe God is who He says He is. And, I believe I am who God says I am [Beth Moore, Believing God], chosen, forgiven and free. 

Hell no longer has its grip on me. Like Jesus, someday I too will be called home to the Father, and on that day there will be true joy. But for now I live with hope and in anticipation of how God will bring Heaven to me on this earth. I now understand that the joy of this life is a mere glimpse into my eternal future. When I look into the eyes of those I love, I see the gifts I have been given and I celebrate them. When I make a mistake now I know I have the ability to correct it. When I'm feeling discouraged I know Satan is prowling around hoping I have not attached myself firmly to the vine. Through Christ I have the ability to send him on his way. 

Death for the believer in Jesus, has been crushed by Jesus. The cross now represents something very holy to me. Jesus alone has made the way. I didn’t earn my salvation, I simply decided to shift my position to receive it without further questioning it. I am free to be the daughter God created me to be. Do you believe Pam? Yes I believe Lord! My chains are gone and I have been set free. Free to live the remaining days of my life on this earth with an open heart to what God has for me. Free to believe that even in the storms of life, You are right there beside me. Free to move forward in the work you have for me knowing I have everything I need. I have been ransomed at a great price Father and I will choose to honor that gift through obedience and respect of You. Help me everyday to do just that. My salvation is secure and I have been sealed by the blood of Jesus. THANK YOU LORD for making the way of discovery."

Friends two sinners were nailed to a cross at Calvary, one on each side of Jesus Christ. The Bible indicates that one resides in Heaven and the other chose hell. There is no better day than today to consider your own choice. Where are you standing? Do you need a shift of position? 

Jesus answered them “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

In Christ by grace,

Blessed Assurance by Alan Jackson

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